In the new French-made multimedia documentary Gaza-Sderot: Life in Spite of Everything, moments like this add to the eerie feeling that we are eavesdropping on doomed people. That sense is all the more acute because the audience knows how the story will soon turn out. The documentary was shot by two crews — one in Sderot and one in Gaza — between October and December last year, ending just four days before Israel unleashed on Gaza its fiercest bombing campaign in decades. The attack left an estimated 1,300 Palestinians dead and sent residents in nearby Sderot scrambling into underground shelters.
But the film is not concerned with what will happen in the future. That makes it a blast of fresh air after the cacophony of talking heads that dominate news coverage from the Middle East. "As the project went on, the stories became more and more subtle and less and less propaganda," says executive producer Serge Gordey in Paris. "People were not saying the same mantra over and over." The documentary, which will screen at the South-by-Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas, on March 17, 2009 as well as on television networks in Israel, Canada, the Netherlands and Sweden in the coming months, breaks the mold in another way, too. Though funded by the French-German television channel Arte, Gaza-Sderot was created for the Internet, reversing the typical order in which films show on television and are then posted online. While filming, the two crews uploaded daily stories of about five minutes each on the production's website[ http://gaza-sderot.arte.tv], as well as long interviews with all the main subjects. The 52-minute documentary was edited from these hours of video postings.
Gaza Sderot is an original project broadcast by Arte.tv, the official site of ARTE, the French-German cultural television station, in coproduction with an Israeli team - Alma Films/Trabelsi Productions in cooperation with The Sapir College in Sderot, a Palestinian team - Ramattan Studios, a French documentary production company - Bo Travail ! and an interactive production company Upian.com.On Saturday, October 25th, 2008 "Gaza Sderot" won the "Prix Europa" which took place in Berlin.
This project reports on life as experienced by men, women and children in Gaza (Palestine) and Sderot (Israel) : their lives and their survival on a daily basis. Under difficult living conditions and the threat of air attacks and bombings, people do keep on working, loving and dreaming. Life in spite of everything.